As your business grows and your order volume increases you will probably want to consider the advantages that a fulfillment warehouse affords you.
A fulfillment warehouse can help automate and handle your shipping for you. When you choose to work with a fulfillment warehouse, you store your inventory at one of their warehouses. Depending on their level of integration with your shopping cart, when an order comes in, your fulfillment partner will automatically be forwarded the order to pick, pack and ship on your behalf.
There are a number of advantages to using a fulfillment warehouse including:
Cheaper Shipping Rates - Because fulfillment warehouses ship such large quantities for multiple vendors, they receive cheaper shipping rates. They're also integrated (usually) with all of the major shipping logistics companies, giving you easier access to the widest range of shipping options.
Shorter Shipping Times - Strategically choosing your fulfillment partner and the warehouse to store your inventory means you can store your inventory closer to the majority of your customers.
Fulfillment warehouses aren’t for everyone though. There are several disadvantages as well that you need to consider:
Branding Experience - Generally, if you use your packaging presentation as part of your branding experience, like Trunk Club noted at the beginning of this post, you’ll be hard pressed to find a fulfillment warehouse that will work with that level of dedication and customization for your brand.
Additional Costs - Although you will likely receive better shipping rates working with a fulfillment partner, there are other rates that need to be paid including what are commonly referred to as pick and pack fees as well as warehouse storage fees. If you feel like you’re ready to work with a order fulfillment warehouse, there are several that have fantastic integrations with Shopify including Shipwire, Fulfillrite and a host of others. For a better idea of pricing and costs, you can use Shipwire’s pricing calculator.
Fulfillment by Amazon
Shopify merchants can take advantage of Amazon’s fulfillment centres in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan to make it faster, easier and cheaper to ship their products around the world. After receiving an order, Amazon will pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for each delivery. Products stored in Amazon’s fulfillment centres also benefit from Amazon-exclusive perks like 1 or 2-day shipping for Prime members.
You can read more on Shopify's integration with Amazon here.
Working with a fulfillment warehouse is a logical step for ecommerce businesses once they have some predictability and regularity of orders.
Working with a fulfillment warehouse frees up precious time and gives you the opportunity to focus on growing your business and acquiring new customers instead of dealing with logistics.